Recorded in the varied spellings of Felgate, Fellgate, Fieldgate, Fellgatt, Fellgett, Felget, Filgate, and Fillgate, and possibly others, this is probably an English locational surname, but of Norse-Viking pre 7th century origins. If so it probably originates from either the village of Fell Gate in County Durham, or from some now 'lost' medieval site, where a road (geat) ran by a 'fell', meaning a mountain or moorland. Curiously there are no reports of any recordings of the surname in any spelling in County Durham, and so there is possibility that the surname is not locational at all. If this is the case then it is possibly a transposition of another name. In this case research suggests that the medieval metronymic 'feld-drak' may be responsible, this being a nickname surname for a hunter of game birds. One Ricardus Feldrak being recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls for the year 1379, although in this spelling the name now seems to be extinct. Examples of the 'modern' spelling of the surname taken from surviving church registers include such examples as: William Felgate, a witness at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 21st 1599, Toby Filgate, a witness at the same church on March 30th 1612, Samuel Fieldgate recorded at St. Giles Cripplegate, on July 1st 1720, and Roger Fellgate, of Bilborough, Yorkshire, on July 15th 1722. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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